February 22, 2022 

Original work from Alix Sanchez

Short Distance

That trembling shift of a pinky finger as it seeks out the permission to first hold their hand 

The ways your knees touch while seated side by side, first quick and questioning, then a longer melting press 

The half step to you left that bumps your shoulders but you don't move away 

The reach across a table 
To offer a bite of food and the lingering exchange of a spoon 

The plucking of a leaf from their hair as you walk in the chill and the way your visible breath mingles in the air 

And that small last moment before lips touch for the first time, slow motion exchange of energy 
Vibrating across a thin divide


Land Acknowledgement

I am tired of the white persons land acknowledgement 
Don’t get me wrong, you should know whose land you’re standing on 
Know the history of why that fishing village is now a Target and a Home Goods 
as you glance meaningfully in the direction of the one or two indigenous people in the room 
To show you’re hearing the words and are a very very good person 
who listens to land acknowledgements 
But I’m tired 
More than that, filled up with grief and rage and sometimes hope 
Give me more than the white persons land acknowledgement 

I want a land acknowledgement for my body 
So deeply and effectively colonized from birth that it took me 
Thirty five years to realize i was trans 
Because I thought you were just supposed to feel deeply uncomfortable in a fat body 
Thought that if I could get my tits high enough I could figure out how to like them 
Thought that if I could contour my face just right I could finally like the softness of its jaw 
Thought that if I hunched my shoulders and stuffed my belly into shapewear and cast my gaze to the floor I could take up so little space maybe I could...what...disappear? 
The highest calling of womanhood 
I want a land acknowledgement for my weary skin 

I want a land acknowledgement for the terrain of memory 
Razed so perfectly that I can’t picture myself as a child, 
Can only remember in flashes, in fits and starts 
Can only smile and shrug when people try to reminisce 
Stare at a blank page when asked to write about my life before I was grown 
I want a land acknowledgement for what I can’t recall 

I want a land acknowledgement for my tongue 
That stumbles over the language that was dangerous for my grandparents to speak 
That my mother never learned 
That I learn in pieces staring at a screen, hundreds of miles from home 
When I finally realized I was trans, I had to google the word for what I am 
Because I knew my people had a word but I had no one to ask what to call myself 
Aanini is the word 
We always had it, even after they tried to take it away. 

I wrote a land acknowledgment for myself: 
“We acknowledge that the being before you is unceded indigenous territory 
That their body is a motherland, seat of rebirth 
a holder of memory beyond their own 
Of story still unfolding 
That their embodiment is not a privilege 
But a sovereign right 
That they belong only to the ancestors 
And to themselves”